25 September 2023

GA assessment has eye on cyclones

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The latest update of an assessment of the likelihood of tropical cyclones published by Geoscience Australia (GA) includes new, improved methodology that calculates the possibilities better.

Leader of Atmospheric Hazards Activity at GA, Craig Arthur said the updated Tropical Cyclone Hazard Assessment (TCHA) provided a more realistic evolution of tropical cyclones over their lifetime and an improved understanding of how they weakened once they made landfall.

“The TCHA defines the severe wind hazard posed to Australia based on the frequency and intensity of tropical cyclones making landfall around the Australian coastline,” Mr Arthur said.

“Following the 2018 update, it now includes data on 160,000 tropical cyclone scenarios for 400 locations around Australia.”

He said there were no surprises when it came to the regions identified as being at higher risk of tropical cyclone hazards.

“The highest hazard area in Australia is along the Pilbara coastline, near Karratha in Western Australia, where the wind speeds are estimated to have the potential to exceed 250 kilometres per hour, equivalent to a category four tropical cyclone.

“The latest update also highlights in rare cases, the tropical cyclone hazard area can extend further south along the east coast into NSW and along the west coast, as far south as Perth.”

Mr Arthur said the data in the TCHA was used by Geoscience Australia and other organisations to develop cyclone hazard and impact models, which informed evidence-based disaster management and evacuation plans, as well as infrastructure planning and mitigation strategies.

“The TCHA provides vital information to emergency managers, infrastructure owners, town planners and engineers to plan for and reduce the threat of tropical cyclone hazard on the Australian coast,” he said.

“It also supports the insurance and reinsurance industry to understand the tropical cyclone risk as an input to pricing insurance premiums.”

The 42-page Tropical Cyclone Hazard Assessment can be accessed from the GA website at this PS News link.

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